When former women's MMA star Gina Carano watched Ronda Rousey fall by a vicious second round head kick to Holly Holm at UFC 193 in November, she was one of only a couple people in the world who probably knew exactly what the former bantamweight champion was feeling in that moment.
Carano was a part of the most highly publicized women's bout in MMA history prior to Rousey's arrival in the UFC after she faced Cris 'Cyborg' Justino in Strikeforce in 2009.
Carano was undefeated and considered the face of women's MMA at the time, but 'Cyborg' dealt her a brutal loss via TKO late in the first round, which now stands as her last bout in the sport before she left to focus on her acting career.
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So after watching Rousey fall by knockout, Carano felt for her in a way very few fighters in the sport could even begin to understand what she was going through and the emotional rollercoaster that was sure to follow.
"My heart truly does feel for Ronda," Carano told FOX Sports recently. "I know what it's like to get beat, on a very public scale and not do even 25-percent of what you know you can. I know what it's like to want to do so damn good for all the people who found inspiration in your life and what you've done and almost want to do it more for them than yourself.
"I hope she surrounds herself with love and light to heal the brokenness she might feel. It can only make her better in every way if she allows it."
Rousey hasn't said much since her fight with Holm outside of a solitary interview that was published just recently, but she has stated that she plans to return to action next year with plans to regain the title she lost.
Rousey also stated that if she falls to Holm a second time that will be the last time she competes in MMA, but Carano says that no fighter should judge their career based solely around wins and losses.
Carano has seen the best fighters win their biggest bouts and then fall in the most unexpected ways possible. Rousey is no different and Carano refuses to change her opinion on the former champion simply because she lost a fight.
"Ultimately, I don't like a fighter based on their wins or losses. People get knocked out and will continue to, they'll lose, they'll have a bad night. That's why it's so raw because that can happen at any point in time, to anyone. It keeps us all honest. The fighter and the fan," Carano said.
"I also don't support a person based on them being the best at what they do either. Yes, seeing the extremely talented is epic but I'd much rather see someone be epically talented in being themselves. I pick people I like and choose to support based on knowing I want to see how this person evolves and lives their own life. Not the way society would live it for them."
As far as Holm goes, Carano is also very familiar with her after briefly training together while she was working out of the same Jackson-Winkeljohn camp a few years ago.
Carano was actually deep in negotiations with the UFC in 2014 about a possible return to action and she recounts a meeting held in the office of UFC president Dana White where Holm's name came up as a subject when speaking about the top contenders in the women's bantamweight division.
Carano knew even back then that Holm was a serious threat to anyone at 135-pounds and it showed when she eventually signed with the UFC and then knocked out Rousey in her third fight with the promotion.
"I did train with Holly a little in New Mexico. I remember talking to Dana White last year sometime in his office, he had the five top contenders in each weight class written on his office windows -- male and female -- and there were a couple names I couldn't for the life of me figure out, why were not written down," Carano said. "Holly is the only one I mentioned because I knew they were in talks of negotiating with her and after seeing how talented she was and the most incredible work ethic.
"I felt it was important to mention she is legit and should be up there. He laughed and blew it off mentioning something about her ground game but then again he did sign her not long after that so I think he knew. She seems like she deserved that in her life and career."
Carano knows for Holm to remain champion won't be an easy task and she's definitely in for a whole new world now that she's the hunted instead of hunter.
"I don't think it's going to be an easy ride for her to keep that belt so she's feeling a whole new sense of being a target in this world when before she was the underdog," Carano said.
As far as he own aspirations for fighting, Carano has never completely shut the door on a potential return to action but nothing was ever solidified for another fight in her career either.
She did negotiate with the UFC on a possible comeback fight, but ultimately terms weren't reached and Carano ended up booking a slew of acting engagements including her new film "Extraction" as well as "Deadpool", which comes out in February.
Carano did relocate out of Los Angeles recently and has been training more regularly but she's not ready to commit to anything yet and would rather just enjoy life and let things come at her as they happen.
"I've moved out of LA to outside San Francisco to train and grow in a different atmosphere artistically and personally. I needed to change the way I was going. I haven't been this inspired in a long time," Carano said.
"It's something you can want but can never fake. I've just begun to dream again so we will see what 2016 holds. Training, art and people have always helped open my mind and heart."